Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Mental Stress is like a ‘Check Engine Light’ Flashing–Don’t Ignore It

Image of Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David talks about his  journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program during a video conversation with Defense Health Agency Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David spoke about his own journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program during a video conversation with Defense Health Agency Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Nov. 19.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Warrior Care | Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Psychological Fitness

For one Air Force senior enlisted leader, the problem of “combat stress” and the toll it takes on warfighters – and often on their families, too – continues to be an issue that the military community struggles to fully understand.

“Sometimes they don’t feel right about only having mental injuries. They don’t think it’s a big deal, but it is,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David, the chief enlisted manager for the Defense Media Activity.

David spoke about his own journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program during a video conversation with Defense Health Agency Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Nov. 19. They were both attending Virtual CARE Week events as part of the DOD’s Warrior Care Month observance.

David was seriously wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom and said he “had a hard time with recovery in general.” He later was deployed to Afghanistan, and made use both times of mental health care services available to troops and veterans as part of his recovery.

“I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve seen a psychiatrist. I'm not ashamed to say I’ve been to behavioral or mental health care,” he told Gragg during their conversation during the Day of Healing events

David also spoke about the continued societal stigmatization of wounded warriors.

“Aside from the physical [injuries], the mental stress – they call it combat stress – that is a bizarre concept for folks that are not serving, who haven’t served, or don’t know anyone who has served in the armed forces,” he said.

The physical and mental recovery “takes a toll on yourself, your family, and your livelihood.”

And for those who have invisible wounds, the burden can even be bigger, David said.

He used the analogy of an automobile engine warning light to help explain the effects that psychological injuries can have.

“What happens when your check engine light turns on? Do you just ignore it until your engine stops or are you responsible because you’re thinking about the longer game, you’re thinking about the big picture?”

“You don’t know if it’s going to be a dramatic chain of events that’s going to ultimately hurt you in the long run.”

The priority placed on mental health and total force fitness reflects a generational change for many senior leaders, David said.

“Leaders should include Warrior Care in their toolbox,” David said. “You can’t be the leader you grew up with today in 2021. You have to evolve” in your thoughts and actions about wounded warriors and warrior care.

“You have to be a different leader. What worked 20 to 30 years ago won’t work today.”

Visit the Defense Health Agency Facebook page for more of the interview with David.

In addition to Warrior Care programs and each Service’s treatment programs, Military OneSource provides wounded warrior specialty consultation services to help eligible wounded, ill or injured service members, veterans and their families get immediate assistance for issues related to health care, resources, facilities and benefits. Service members and veterans injured in accidents or battling serious illnesses are also eligible.

For help with thoughts of suicide, contact the Military & Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 and select Option 1

You also may be interested in...

USU Facility Dogs Help De-stress USU Med Students

Article
8/4/2022
A dog interacts with students

Shetland and Grover roam the USU med school's halls to calm and comfort students.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Wounded Warrior Reconditioning Paves Way to Invictus Victory and More

Article
7/29/2022
An athlete rower

New veteran reflects on his experience at the last Invictus Games as a recovering service member and how DOD adaptive sports programs got him there and aided in recovery.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

AFIMSC Chaplain Shares His "True North" Calling

Article
7/26/2022
An Air Force Airman inspects a target used during a shooting competition at Davis-Monthan Air Base, Arizona, in 2021. The True North program is a resilience program that embeds providers and spiritual leaders within squadrons and groups. Davis-Monthan implemented True North in October 2020. (Photo: Air Force Airman 1st Cl. William Turnbull)

Finding your True North – your authentic self, your purpose, your beliefs – can be a struggle for many today.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

From Recovery to Resilience: Navy Service Member Shares His Story

Article
7/22/2022
Two people with a shotput

Navy RSM shares how military adaptive sport programs helped him during his recovery from cancer.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

DHA Program Supports Training Education of Future Medical Providers

Article
7/20/2022
Military personnel looking at display

The Clinical Investigations Program combines research and training to teach and develop the future clinicians of the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Health Care Technology | Health Readiness & Combat Support

The Need for Speed Requires Intense Training

Article
7/18/2022
 Military personnel conducts routine ops in US 3rd Fleet

Tom Cruise has nothing on real military pilots and their training.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Physical Fitness

Wounded Sailor Ready to Lead Navy Wounded Warrior Marksmen to Victory

Article
7/8/2022
Roel Espino and Retired AZ3 Elizabeth “Ellie” Smith at Navy Warrior Games Training Camp

Adaptive sports allow athletes to pursue new goals. Team Navy’s Shooting Coach Roel Espino shares his journey from athlete to coach.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Warrior Care

Army Experts: Rabies Risk is Not Worth It

Article
7/5/2022
Army Experts: Rabies Risk is Not Worth It

Almost 60,000 people around the world die from rabies each year. Despite the common belief that rabid animals are easily identified by foaming at the mouth and aggressive behavior, infected animals may not look sick or act strangely.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health | Rabies

Final Days in Afghanistan: Lab Techs Stepped Up to Support Withdrawal

Article
6/30/2022
Final Days in Afghanistan Lab Techs Stepped Up to Support Withdrawal

“Prior to the attack, teams were preparing to leave the area. Suddenly, everything changed, and our main goal shifted from COVID-19 support to blood supply and triage.”

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

How Drones Will Transform Battlefield Medicine – and Save Lives

Article
6/23/2022
Drones carrying fresh blood products to wounded troops on the front lines may be critical for military medicine in a conflict against a "near-peer" adversary.

Emerging technology may use drones to deliver blood products for wounded troops on the front lines of combat. That capability may be critical in a "near-peer" conflict.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

How MHS GENESIS will become essential to patients' health journey

Article
6/21/2022
Dr. Robert Marshall, program director of the Department of Defense Clinical Informatics Fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Ensuring proper training of both providers and patients is essential for the successful integration and sustainment of MHS GENESIS into MHS care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

How Military Medicine Is Preparing for the Next Conflict

Article
6/8/2022
As the Pentagon prepares today’s force for a “near-peer” fight against a large military adversary, the Military Health System is challenged to provide life-saving support for large-scale and dispersed operations.

As the Pentagon prepares today’s force for a “near-peer” fight against a large military adversary, the Military Health System is challenged to provide life-saving support for large-scale and dispersed operations. That’s especially true for the medics supporting troops on the front lines.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Care Technology | Education & Training | Medical Education and Training Campus

Army Doctor Earns Top Honors at Air Assault School at Fort Campbell

Article
6/3/2022
Army Doctor Earns Top Honors at Air Assault School at Fort Campbell

This Army doctor finished at the top of his class at the Air Assault School at Fort Campbell. It's a 10-day course that is both physically and academically challenging, teaching soldiers the foundations of heliborne operations to include troop transportation, sling loaded cargo and equipment transportation, medical and casualty evacuation operations, and air assault operations.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Could a Therapy Dog Help with Your Dental Anxiety?

Article
6/2/2022
Air Force Brig. Gen. Goldie, a facility therapy dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, helps reduce anxiety in a patient with complex dental conditions that require multiple appointments. The use of therapy dogs is part of an ongoing study with these patients.

A first-of-its-kind study at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is researching whether using facility therapy dogs in dentists’ offices could reduce patient anxiety and improve outcomes for military dental treatment programs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

Tips for Military Parents Planning PCS Moves with Children

Article
6/2/2022
Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet, there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 11
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 21, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.